Acts 4:32-37

32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

heart (v.32) — intellectual — the thought and will

soul (v.32 ) — emotional — affections and impulses

apostles gave witness (v.33) = lit. “continued giving witness” — expresses obligation, as in discharging a debt. The apostles miracles were proof of Christ’s resurrection.

great grace (v.33) — God gave the believers special grace to live in this manner.

sold/brought (v.34) — the tense indicates continuous actions.

This [the distribution among the needy] is not contradictory but complementary to Isaiah 65:21-23, for it was evidently their investments that they sold and the proceeds of which they brought to the apostles’ for distribution among the needy. Any who resided in houses of their own evidently continued to possess and occupy them (e.g. John Mark, Acts 12:12) but even these they did not consider their own but freely shared them with others. — Stam, page 169


This is not God’s program for “this present evil age.” Think of the disillusionment that would come to any person practicing this program today! That even the opponents of dispensational truth know this in their hearts is evidence by the fact that they do not practice it.

And think of the bewilderment of the person who, reading this passage and sincerely seeking to practice the Pentecostal program, should then read for the first time in Paul’s epistles, written later, about “the poor saints which are at Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26) and his declaration: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). — Stam, page 172

Barnabas (v.36) — Acts 13:2; Colossians 4:10

Joseph is more commonly known by the name which was given him by the apostles, Barnabas, which represents the Hebrew “Bar-Nabuyah, “Son of prophetic exhortation.” The Greek equivalent, added by Luke for his Gentile readers, may be translated either “Son of exhortation” or “Son of consolation.” The new name was probably given him either now or at some later period because of something special in his teaching (see 11:22-23; 13:1). We know from the context that he was a Levite by birth, and that he was a native of Cyprus. We find him here selling his possessions and handing over the proceeds to the apostles. Later, it was he who took Saul of Tarsus by the hand after his conversion and vouched for his sincerity (9:27). He, again, was the one chosen by the apostles to go and inspect the new departure in the work at Antioch of Syria (11:22-24). After fetching Paul thither (11:25-30), he continued to teach at Antioch till he accompanied his friend to Jerusalem, to carry alms to the poor there (11:30). Returning to Antioch with Paul (12:25) and his cousin Mark (whose mother Mary lived in Jerusalem), he was chosen by the Holy Spirit as Paul’s fellow-laborer, and accompanied him in the first great missionary journey to Cyprus, Antioch (of Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (chapters 13, 14). After returning to Antioch in Syria, Paul and he attended the Council at Jerusalem convened to consider the question of circumcising Gentile converts (chapter 15; Galatians 2:1-10). After the favorable decision of that Council, they returned to Antioch, and it was apparently at this juncture that Barnabas was influenced unfortunately by Peter’s inconsistent conduct (Galatians 2:11-13). He then separated from Paul over the question of taking John Mark as their fellow-laborer, and went off with Mark to Cyprus (15:37-39). We thereupon lose sight of him. The title of “apostle” is given to him in Acts 14:14). — Walker, page 108


Cyprus is an island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea between the convergent coasts of Cilicia and Syria. Its greatest breadth is 60 miles, and its extreme length 145. It was called “Chittim” in Old Testament times. In early days it was famous for its timber and copper, as also for pottery, etc. After being subject in turn to the Egyptians, Persians and Greeks, it passed into the possession of the Romans in 58 B.C. It was attached by them at first to the province of Cilicia, but was made a separate province about 30 B.C. For some time it remained an “imperial” province, but afterwards became a “senatorial” one, and was such when Paul visited it. The seat of government was a Paphos, but Salamis was the largest and most important town in the island.

Jews settled there in the time of Ptolemy (about 295 B.C.). And a considerable colony of them lived there thenceforward. The dispersion after the death of Stephen carried believers to Cyprus (11:19, and Cypriots were among those who preached at Antioch (11:20). We find Paul and Barnabas preaching there in their first missionary journey (13:4-12), and also Barnabas proceeding thither again, in company with Mark, after his separation from Paul (15:39-40). Cyprus is mentioned again in 21:3, 16; 27:4). — Walker, pages 108-109.

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